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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Rubio looks to April 13 Miami launch

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is strongly considering launching his presidential campaign April 13 at the Freedom Tower, a historic Miami landmark known as the “Ellis Island of the South,” according to Republicans familiar with his thinking.

From its name to its history – it once served as a U.S. clearinghouse for Cuban exiles fleeing Fidel Castro – Miami’s Mediterranean-style Freedom Tower underscores the themes of Rubio’s political career and his likely campaign. He’s a first-generation son of immigrants who has sought to make the American Dream synonymous with his biography.

Rubio’s possible April 13 launch date was first reported by The Tampa Bay Times. However, the Miami Heat plays against the Orlando Magic that evening at the American Airlines Arena, which sits right across Biscayne Boulevard — raising the prospect of a traffic nightmare. And the Freedom Tower hasn’t yet been secured by Rubio’s Washington-based team, which will inspect it this week to see if it’s the right venue.

They’re also considering other locations, which have yet to surface publicly.

Rubio’s advisors are closely monitoring Clinton’s possible announcement date in an attempt to ensure the Florida senator can own the news cycle.

Alex Conant, a Rubio spokesman, said the campaign would soon make public a location and time for an announcement. “We’ll lock it in early next week and let everyone know,” he wrote in an email. )(Full Story)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Under Mr. Obama, friends are enemies

The humiliating denouement to America’s involvement in Yemen came over the weekend, when U.S. Special Forces were forced to evacuate a base from which they had operated against the local branch of al Qaeda. This is the same branch that claimed responsibility for the January attack on Charlie Hebdo and has long been considered to pose the most direct threat to Europe and the United States.

So who should Barack Obama be declaring war on in the Middle East other than the state of Israel?

There is an upside-down quality to this president’s world view. His administration is now on better terms with Iran—whose Houthi proxies, with the slogan “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, damn the Jews, power to Islam,” just deposed Yemen’s legitimate president—than it is with Israel. He claims we are winning the war against Islamic State even as the group continues to extend its reach into Libya, Yemen and Nigeria.

He treats Republicans in the Senate as an enemy when it comes to the Iranian nuclear negotiations, while treating the Russian foreign ministry as a diplomatic partner. He favors the moral legitimacy of the United Nations Security Council to that of the U.S. Congress. He is facilitating Bashar Assad’s war on his own people by targeting ISIS so the Syrian dictator can train his fire on our ostensible allies in the Free Syrian Army.

He was prepared to embrace a Muslim Brother as president of Egypt but maintains an arm’s-length relationship with his popular pro-American successor. He has no problem keeping company with Al Sharpton and tagging an American police department as comprehensively racist but is nothing if not adamant that the words “Islamic” and “terrorism” must on no account ever be conjoined. The deeper that Russian forces advance into Ukraine, the more they violate cease-fires, the weaker the Kiev government becomes, the more insistent he is that his response to Russia is working.

To adapt George Orwell’s motto for Oceania: Under Mr. Obama, friends are enemies, denial is wisdom, capitulation is victory.

The current victim of Mr. Obama’s moral inversions is the recently re-elected Israeli prime minister. Normally a sweeping democratic mandate reflects legitimacy, but not for Mr. Obama. Now we are treated to the astonishing spectacle in which Benjamin Netanyahu has become persona non grata for his comments doubting the current feasibility of a two-state solution. This, while his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas is in the 11th year of his four-year term, without a murmur of protest from the White House. (Continues)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One promise he did keep

Members of Congress from both parties once jealously guarded its power against the executive branch, but under President Obama, this is no longer true for Democrats. There are very good reasons Democrats have ceded their power to President Obama and ignored their responsibility to uphold the Constitution the past 6 years -- and disgraced themselves in doing so. Because governmental bodies rarely give up power voluntarily, this historic transition deserves careful scrutiny.

When Barack Obama was on the cusp of becoming president in 2008, he gave a speech declaring to his supporters that they were days away from “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”  That was one promise he did keep. How has America been transformed? America has unprecedented levels of national debt. The Obamas, like the Clintons, will not feel the impact since they will all be vastly enriched from their “public service.” There have also been records set for food stamp and disability payments, record low workplace participation rates and unparalleled weakness abroad. Granted, the stock market is hitting record highs -- a consequence of abnormally low interest rates and the extraordinary use of quantitative easing.  Obama’s War on the One Percent has failed. But Barack Obama has done far more and the consequences will be felt for many years to come. He has transformed the presidency.

Obama has seized power in ways that Michael Barone has aptly characterized as “Gangsta Government.”  Barone was inspired to write his first column on that topic by Obama’s unilateral denying of creditor rights in the Chrysler bankruptcy. But it became a series for Barone, and Obama’s future actions provided the gist for David  Freddoso’s superb book, Gangster Government: Barack Obama and the New Washington Thugocracy.  Obamacare was jammed through Congress via “reconciliation” a rarely used procedure meant to deal with minor budget issues --  not taking over one-sixth of the American economy.

More arrogation of power followed. Obama made recess appointments when he alone declared Congress was in recess, and tried to load up government positions with like-minded ideologues without bothering to abide by the Constitutional mandate that the Senate had to approve these appointments. The Supreme Court eventually rebuked him for exceeding his constitutional authority.  He has used his regulatory agencies to transfigure the laws as passed by even a Democratic Congress when those laws might cause him political problems (Obamacare waivers and delays, for instance; the IRS interpreting Obamacare legislation to require subsidies flow to people in states that failed to set up their own exchanges, though the legislation did not provide for that practice). Clearly, Barack Obama never had much respect for the second branch of the government.

But Obama does not show much respect for the Judiciary branch of the government either, as shown by his display of contempt towards the Supreme Court at various times, including a shocking display during his 2010 State of The Union Address when he (wrongly) accused them of making a decision that would allow foreign funding of political campaigns.  He also declared that the Supreme Court should rule that Obamacare was constitutional:
"Ultimately, I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress,"
Not only was this statement wholly inappropriate for a president to make it was factually wrong (maybe he should have been tested on the Constitution before being hired to be a part-time lecturer on it at the University of Chicago).